National Security Action Memoranda (NSAMs), recording formal decisions by President John Kennedy, have been placed on a National Security Action Memoranda Web page at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
Michael R. Adamson, "Ambassadorial Roles and Foreign Policy: Elbridge Durbrow, Frederick Nolting, and the U.S. Commitment to Diem's Vietnam, 1957–61." Presidential Studies Quarterly, vol. 32 (2002). The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
David L. Anderson, Trapped by Success: The Eisenhower Administration and Vietnam, 1953–1961. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991. xv, 276 pp. A brief skim indicates that the author very seriously misunderstands the process by which the Second Indochina War began; this does not bode well for the book as a whole.
William R. Andrews, The Village War: Vietnamese Communist Revolutionary Activities in Dinh Tuong Province, 1960–1964. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 1973. xi, 156 pp.
Ang Cheng Guan, Vietnamese Communists' Relations with China and the Second Indochina Conflict, 1956-1962. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1997. ix, 321 pp. Includes material that had previously appeared in the two following articles:
Ang Cheng Guan, "Vietnam: The Decision to Resume Armed Struggle in the South, Summer 1958–Summer 1959." War and Society 15:1 (May 1997), pp. 101-118.
Ang Cheng Guan, "The Huong Lap and Phu Loi Incidents, and the Decision to Resume Armed Struggle in South Vietnam (January-April 1959)." South East Asia Research 4:1 (1996), pp. 3-22.
Asian Survey, a monthly journal, usually focuses in current or recent events, but at least the articles are written by scholars, and sometimes there are articles dealing with events far enough in the past to allow a real historical perspective. In January or February of each year, it published an article summarizing the events of the previous year in Vietnam, or separate articles for North and South Vietnam. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the journal through the JSTOR Asian Survey browse page or go to individual articles directly. The listing below is an incomplete sample of the relevant articles:
Pierre Asselin, Hanoi’s Road to the Vietnam War, 1954-1965. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. xxii, 319 pp. Essentially stops in 1964.
Colonel Robert M. Bayless (Retired), Vietnam: Victory Was Never an Option. Victoria, BC, Canada: Trafford, 2005. 273 pp. Bayless went to Vietnam late December 1962. He was assigned first to a tactical operations center near Saigon, then as adviser to the ARVN 7th Infantry Regiment in III corps.
Colonel Edwin F. Black, USA, "'Dragon's Teeth' of Freedom." Military Review, XLIV:8 (August 1964), pp. 20-25.
Sergei Blagov, Honest Mistakes: The Life and Death of Trinh Minh The (1922–1955): South Vietnam's Alternative Leader. Huntington, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 2001. xi, 246 pp.
James G. Blight, Janet M. Lang, and David A. Welch, Vietnam if Kennedy had Lived: Virtual JFK. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009. xv, 421 pp. Includes extensive transcripts from a conference at the Musgrove Conference Center, April 8-10, 2005, at which scholars and former officials discussed the issues.
Larry Booda, "South Vietnamese Raiders Extending War." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 80:14 (April 6, 1964), pp. 16–19. Speaks of extending the war outside South Vietnam as if this were a policy already decided upon, exaggerates RVN forces available to do it, gives numbers of particular aircraft types in South Vietnam, optimistic about winning the war soon.
Larry Booda, "DOD,Industry Facing Vietnam Challenge." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 80:15 (April 13, 1964), pp. 93–103. Weapons and technology developments. Gives the impression that the U.S. is still complying with Geneva Accords limitations on weaponry, which prohibit use of jets. Two unsigned companion pieces on p. 103, "Quang Long Battle Typifies Aircraft Use" and "Viet Cong Fire Takes Higher Aircraft Toll," may or may not be by Booda.
Georges Boudarel, Cent Fleurs Ecloses dans la Nuit du Vietnam: Communisme et Dissidence, 1954–1956. Paris: Jacques Bertoin, 1991. 302 pp. A very important account, by a witness.
Anthony T. Bouscaren, Last of the Mandarins: Diem of Vietnam. Duquesne University Press, 1965.
Walter J. Boyne, "Mule Train." Air Force Magazine, February 2001 (84:2). C-123 transport aircraft in Vietnam, December 1961 to December 1962. The text has been placed online.
Malcolm Browne, The New Face of War. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965. xiii, 284 pp. A good account of the war around the years 1963–64 in general, and of the fall of Ngo Dinh Diem in particular, by an American journalist who was there.
Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Documents on Canadian External Relations. Ottawa: Canadian Government Printing Office. There is a lot of Indochina-related material in several of the recent volumes, since Canada was a key member of the International Control Commission created by the Geneva Conference of 1954. Aside from being published on paper, these volumes have been placed on an official web site:
Donald Alan Carter, "Eisenhower Versus the Generals", Journal of Military History, 71:4 (October 2007), pp. 1169-1199. We usually think of the problem of the Joint Chiefs of Staff being to a large extent shut out of their theoretical role as advisers to the president as something that came up in the 1960s when McNamara was Secretary of Defense. Carter argues, convincingly, that it goes back to the 1950s.
James M. Carter, Inventing Vietnam: The United States and State Building, 1954-1968. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. 272 pp.
Maj. John G. Castles, "Lost in the Forest of Tigers. The United States' Search for a Coordinated Plan of Action in Vietnam, 1959–1961." Research paper, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 1997. vii, 53 pp. The full text is available online through STINET.
Philip E. Catton, "Parallel Agendas: The Ngo Dinh Diem Regime, the United States and the Strategic Hamlet Program, 1961–1963." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Ohio University, 1998. 453 pp. DA 9841646. Includes research done in archives in Vietnam. The full text is available online if you are browsing the Internet from an institution, such as Clemson University, that has a subscription to ProQuest "Dissertations and Theses: Full Text."
Catton, Philip E., "Counter-Insurgency and Nation Building: The Strategic Hamlet Programme in South Vietnam, 1961-1963." International History Review vol. xxi (1999), pp. 918-
Philip E. Catton, Diem's Final Failure: Prelude to America's War in Vietnam. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002. x, 298 pp.
Georges Chaffard, Indochine: dix ans d'indépendance. Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1964. 294 pp.
Jessica M. Chapman, "Debating the Will of Heaven: South Vietnamese Politics and Nationalism in International Perspective, 1954-1956." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2006. AAT 3238785. ix, 320 pp.
Jessica M. Chapman, "Staging Democracy: South Vietnam's 1955 Referendum to Depose Bao Dai." Diplomatic History 30:4 (September 2006), pp. 671-703.
China Quarterly no. 9 (January–March 1962) was a special issue devoted to North Vietnam. The articles can give you a good idea of how North Vietnam was seen in the West in 1962, though in hindsight some of them do not seem to have been very accurate. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access this issue through the JSTOR China Quarterly browse page or go to individual articles through the links below:
Noam Chomsky, Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War, and U.S. Political Culture. Boston: South End Press, 1993. 172 pp. Very hostile to President Kennedy. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Communist Aggression against the Republic of Viet-Nam. Saigon: Republic of Vietnam, 1964. 29 pp, plus considerable unpaginated end matter, mostly photographs. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
A COSVN Standing Committee Account of the Situation in South Vietnam from the End of 1961 to the Beginning of 1964. English translation of a document dated 20 April 1964, captured in Phuoc Long Province, April 29, 1969. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: Front matter and pp. 1–36, and pp. 37–57.
Victor J. Croizat, Journey Among Warriors: The Memoirs of a Marine. White Mane Publishing, 1996. 248 pp. Croizat arrived in Vietnam in 1954, and became in 1955 the first U.S. adviser to the Vietnamese Marine Corps. But he had a diverse life; I wouldn't assume that this memoir (which I have not seen) is devoted mainly to Vietnam.
Victor J. Croizat, "Starting the Corps in South Vietnam." Naval History, April 1996, pp. 45–49.
Robert Dallek, An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963. Boston: Little, Brown, 2003. x, 838 pp. Argues that Kennedy would not have escalated the Vietnam War, if he had lived.
Chet Decker, "Operation SHUFLY". Leatherneck, LXXXV:4 (April 2002), pp. 36–39. HMM-362, under Lt. Col. Archie J. Clapp, the first Marine helicopter squadron to go to Vietnam in 1962.
Declaration of the First Congress of the South Viet Nam National Front for Liberation. Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, June 1962. 36 pp. Declaration dated March 3, 1962. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Martin J. Dockery, Lost in Translation: Vietnam: A Combat Advisor's Story. New York: Presidio (Ballantine [Random House]), 2003. xvi, 254 pp. Dockery, a young 2d lieutenant, was in Vietnam September 1962 to August 1963. He had had 6 weeks of intensive Vietnamese. He was an adviser to the ARVN 2d Battalion, 33d Regiment, 21st Infantry Division, operating in various parts of the western Mekong Delta (he mentions Kien Giang province, Long Xuyen, Chau Doc, and the road He ended up believing the U.S. effort was doomed to fail.
John C. Donnell, "National Renovation Campaigns in Vietnam." Pacific Affairs 32:1 (March 1959), pp. 73–88. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text directly or go through the JSTOR Pacific Affairs browse page.
John C. Donnell and Gerald C. Hickey, The Vietnamese "Strategic Hamlets": A Preliminary Report. RM-3208-ARPA. Santa Monica: Rand, September 1962. viii, 29 pp.
John Corwin Donnell, "Politics in South Vietnam: Doctrines and Authority in Conflict." Ph.D. dissertation, political science, University of California at Berkeley, 1964. iii, 608 pp. 64-9921. A study of the Diem regime and the non-Communist opposition to it. Donnell had been in Vietnam 1950–52, 1954, 1955–57, 1961, and briefly in 1962.
John D. Donoghue, My Thuan: A Mekong Delta Village in South Vietnam. Saigon: Michigan State University Vietnam Advisory Group, May 1961 (mimeographed). Reprinted (slightly modified) Washington: Agency for International Development, 1963. vi, 65 pp. My Thuan village of Binh Minh district, Vinh Long, was chosen to be studied (visited in April and June, 1960) because it was accessible by road, and was one of the few villages in the district still secure enough to be visited safely. It was an overwhelmingly Hoa Hao area, but most administrators were Catholic and didn't trust the Hoa Hao. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: front matter and pp. 1–43, and pp. 45–65.
John P. Ernst, Forging a Fateful Alliance: Michigan State University and the Vietnam War. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1998. xvi, 165 pp. The full text is available online if you browse the Internet through an institution that is affiliated with netLibrary.
Bernard B. Fall, "Spring is Triumphant, but Winter will Surely Return": 1954-1957 -- Three Years of Viet-Minh Rule in North Vietnam. vi, 90 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: pp. i-vi, 1-40 and pp. 41-90.
James Farmer, Counter-Insurgency: Vietnam 1962–1963. P-2778. Santa Monica: Rand Corporation, August 1963. ii, 27 pp.
James Farmer, Counter-Insurgency: Principles and Practices in Viet-Nam. P-3039. Santa Monica: Rand Corporation, December 1964. i, 35 pp.
Paul B. Fay, Jr., The Pleasure of His Company. New York: Harper & Row, 1966. 262 pp. Fay was an old and very trusted friend, whom President Kennedy appointed Under Secretary of the Navy. I have not seen the book, but Fay would have known a lot about what President Kennedy was thinking.
Jason L. Finkle, "Civil-Military Relations in Vietnam." 22 pp. Finkle, of Michigan State University, presented this paper at the National Conference of the American Society for PUblic Administration on April 12, 1962. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
James T. Fisher, "The Second Catholic President: Ngo Dinh Diem, John F. Kennedy, and the Vietnam Lobby, 1954–1963." U.S. Catholic Historian, Summer 1997.
Daniel Ford, The Only War We've Got: Early Days in South Vietnam. San Jose: Authors Choice Press (parent company: Lincoln: iUniverse.com), 2001. vii, 212 pp. Consists mostly of material that Ford wrote between May and July 1964, as a freelance writer/journalist in Vietnam.
Lawrence Freedman, Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. xx, 528 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Zach Freedman, "'The Specter of an Expansionist China': Kennedy Administration Assessments of Chinese Intentions in Vietnam." Diplomatic History 38:1 (January 2014), pp. 111-136.
James K. Galbraith, "Exit Strategy". Boston Review, October–November 2003. A somewhat exaggerated version of the argument that John Kennedy decided, in 1963, to make a complete withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Vietnam.
Lloyd C. Gardner and Tet Gittinger, eds., Vietnam: The Early Decisions. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997. vii, 228 pp. Papers from a conference held at the LBJ Library. The full text is available online if you browse the Internet through an institution that is affiliated with netLibrary.
John B. Givhan, Rice and Cotton: South Vietnam and South Alabama. Philadephia: Xlibris, 2000. 304 pp. Givhan arrived in Vietnam in September 1963, and flew the CH-21 Shawnee with the 120th Aviation Company, the "Deans," based at Tan Son Nhut. He was badly wounded April 12, 1964, during the Battle of Kien Long, much farther south in the Mekong Delta than the Deans' usual operating area. This battle was an offensive operation by a Viet Cong regiment. Givhan's Vietnam and post-Vietnam experiences are intermingled.
Margaret K. Gnoinska, Poland and Vietnam, 1963: New Evidence on Secret Communist Diplomacy and the "Maneli Affair". Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center, 2005. Cold War International History Project Working Paper no. 45. 78 pp.
Christopher E. Goscha and Karine Laplante, eds., L'échec de la paix on Indochine / The Failure of Peace in Indochina, 1954-1962. Paris: Les Indes Savantes, 2010. 407 pp. More articles deal with Laos, and the 1961-62 Geneva Conference on Laos, than with Vietnam or Cambodia. More are in English than in French.
Lewis Gould, ed., The Documentary History of the John F. Kennedy Presidency, vol. 3, Creation of the Presidential Task Force on Vietnam and the Drafting of a "Program of Action" on Vietnam, April-May 1961. Bethesda, MD: UPA/LexisNexis, 2005.
Leon Goure, Southeast Asia Trip Report, Part I - The Impact of Air Power in South Vietnam. Santa Monica: Rand, December 1964. RM-4400-PR (Part 1). vii, 19 pp. Argues that most Vietnamese do not make political judgments, they simply support whichever side is strongest, and they are not likely to respond to civilian casualties caused by air strikes by becoming angry at the government and supporting the Viet Cong.
Government of the Republic of Vietnam, Violations of the Geneva Agreements by the Viet-Minh Communists. Saigon, 1959.
Government of the Republic of Vietnam, Violations of the Geneva Agreements by the Viet-Minh Communists, From July 1959 to June 1960. Saigon, 1960. 46 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Kenneth J. Hagan, "Early Vietnam: Unwinnable?" Naval History, April 1997, pp. 41–47. Summary of a 1996 symposium, nobable for Nguyen Khanh's statement that he was forced out of power because he was against the introduction of U.S. troops and was negotiating with the NLF.
Hai Thu and Binh Thanh, Coup After Coup in Saigon. Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1964. 98 pp. Included as an appendix (pp. 91–98) is the text of an NLF statement of February 3, 1964, reacting to the coup of January 30, 1964. statement of The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in three parts: pp. 1–33, pp. 34–68 and pp. 69–98.
David Halberstam, The Making of a Quagmire. New York: Random House, 1965. 323 pp. Rev. ed., edited by and with an Introduction by Daniel J. Singal, The Making of a Quagmire: America and Vietnam During the Kennedy Era. New York: Knopf, 1988. xxiv, 193 pp. Rev. ed., edited by and with an Introduction by Daniel J. Singal, The Making of a Quagmire: America and Vietnam During the Kennedy Era. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. xxiii, 219 pp. Account of how the US got involved in Vietnam in the early 1960's, by a man who was there as a reporter for the New York Times. The US government didn't much like what he was reporting at the time, but a lot of officials later decided he had been right after all.
M. K. Haldar, Asia: Challenge at Dawn: Personalism versus Marxism. Delhi: Siddhartha Publications, 1961. lvi, 126 pp.
Ellen J. Hammer, A Death in November: America in Vietnam, 1963. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1987. xi, 373pp.
James B. Hendry, "American Aid in Vietnam: The View from a Village." Pacific Affairs 33:4 (December 1960), pp. 387–91. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text directly or go through the JSTOR Pacific Affairs browse page.
Marguerite Higgins, Our Vietnam Nightmare. New York: Harper & Row, 1965. vi, 314 pp. By a hawkish war correspondent.
Roger Hilsman, To Move a Nation. New York: Doubleday, 1967. xxii, 602 pp. Memoir of a fairly senior man in the State Department under Kennedy and, for a few months, Johnson.
Hoang Ngoc Thanh and Than Thi Nhan Duc, Nhung ngay cuoi cung cua Tong thong Ngo Dinh Diem: cuoc dieu tra lich su ve vu lat do va am sat Tong thong Ngo Dinh Diem va co van Ngo Dinh Nhu. San Jose, CA: Quang Vinh & Kim Loan & Quang Hieu, 1994. 637 pp. 3d ed.: San Jose, CA: Quang Vinh & Kim Loan & Quang Hieu, 1999. xvi, 633 pp.
Hoang Ngoc Thanh and Than Thi Nhan Duc, President Ngo Dinh Diem and the US: His Overthrow and Assassination. San Jose: Tuan-Yen and Quan-Viet Mai-Nam Publishers, 2001. xiv, 562 pp. English edition of the previous item.
Hoang Van Chi, From Colonialism to Communism: A Case History of North Vietnam. New York: Praeger, 1964. xv, 252 pp. A very unreliable study, by a refugee from North Vietnam, of the transformations brought about in North Vietnam by the Communists in the 1950's. The mistranslations of a speech by General Vo Nguyen Giap have become famous. For example, on p. 210, Chi gave the translation "We made too many deviations and executed too many honest people" for a passage in which Giap had not mentioned executions (of honest people or of anyone else) at all.
Hoang Van Chi, The Fate of the Last Viets. Saigon: Hoa Mai, 1956. 40 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: pp. 1–21, and pp. pp. 22-40.
David H. Hugel, "Covering Early Marine Corps Operations in Vietnam." Leatherneck, LXXXVI:4 (April 2003), pp. 36–40. Hugel, a Marine photographer, was attached to the Shufly detachment at Danang, 1963–64.
Geraint Hughes, "A 'Post-war' War: The British Occupation of French-Indochina, September 1945-March 1946." Small Wars and Insurgencies, 17:3 (September 2006), pp. 263-286.
Christopher K. Ives, US Special Forces and Counterinsurgency in Vietnam: Military Innovation and Institutional Failure, 1961-1963. Abingdon and New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis). 2007. xii, 180 pp.
Seth Jacobs, "'Our System Demands the Supreme Being': The U.S. Religious Revival and the 'Diem Experiment,' 1954–55." Diplomatic History, vol. 25, no. 4 (Fall 2001), pp. 589–624.
Seth Jacobs, "'Sink or swim with Ngo Dinh Diem': Religion, Orientalism, and United States intervention in Vietnam, 1950--1957." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Northwestern University, 2000. 750 pp. AAT 9994669. The full text is available online if you are browsing the Internet from an institution, such as Clemson University, that has a subscription to ProQuest "Dissertations and Theses: Full Text."
Seth Jacobs, America's Miracle Man in Vietnam: Ngo Dinh Diem, Religion, Race, and U.S. Intervention in Southeast Asia, 1950–1957. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004. x, 381 pp.
Seth Jacobs, Cold War Mandarin: Ngo Dinh Diem and the Origins of America's War in Vietnam, 1950-1963. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. xi, 207 pp.
Joint Operation(s?) Evaluation Group, Vietnam (and Advance Research Projects Agency, Field Unit, vietnam?), "JOEG-V's Operational Evaluation of Armed Helicopters." 29 July 1963. Included as Inclosure 3 was Army Concept Team in Vietnam (ACTIV), "Operational Evaluation of Armed Helicopters: Final Test Report," 10 May 1963. Both the JOEG-V report and the ACTIV report are abbreviated OPENAH. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in five parts: Front matter, main text, beginning of Annexes (the table on p. 13, giving details of munitions expended by VNAF and Farmgate aircraft in May 1963, is useful); additional annexes, front matter of Inclosure 3, ACTIV report; text of ACTIV report: Tabs I to III-B; text of ACTIV report: Tabs III-C to IX-B; text of ACTIV report: Tabs IX-B to XI, A to D.
Howard Jones, Death of a Generation: How the Assassinations of Diem and John F. Kennedy Prevented the Withdrawal of American Troops from Vietnam. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. x, 562 pp. I have not seen this book, but I suspect I will disagree with it when I do. See my own essay, listed below.
Roy Jumper, "Mandarin Bureaucracy and Politics in South Viet Nam." Pacific Affairs 30:1 (March 1957), pp. 47–58. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text directly or go through the JSTOR Pacific Affairs browse page. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Stanley Karnow, "Diem Defeats His Own Best Troops," The Reporter, January 19, 1961, pp. 24–29. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Stanley Karnow, Ronald Spector, Lt. Gen. Harold Moore, William C. Gibbons, and Zalin Grant, "No Light at the End of the Tunnel: America Goes to War in Vietnam", in The VVA Veteran, October/November 2001. Transcript of a panel session at an April 6–8, 2000, symposium "Rendezvous with War," sponsored by Vietnam Veterans of America and the College of William and Mary. There are brief introductory remarks by Edward Crapol, Sam Sadler, and George Duggins.
Suzanne Labin, Vietnam: An Eye-Witness Account. Springfield, VA: Crestwood, 1965. 98 pp. Labin had met with Diem just before the 1963 coup, of which she strongly disapproved.
Jean Lacouture, Vietnam: Between Two Truces. New York: Vintage, 1966. xv, 295 pp. Pretty good account by a left-wing French journalist. Translated by Konrad Kellen and Joel Carmichael from Le Vietnam entre deux paix. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1965.
Colonel Edward G. Lansdale, "'Pacification' in Vietnam." Memorandum, (15 July 1958?). Considerable detail on how Diem had consolidated his power in South Vietnam. The text has been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Colonel Edward G. Lansdale, "Civic Activities of the Military, Southeast Asia." Memorandum, 13 March 1959. Summarizes investigations in the Philippines, Vietnam (pp. 4-8), Thailand, Laos (pp. 8-10), Cambodia, Burma, and Indonesia, January-February 1959, under the auspices of the President's Committee to Study U.S. Military Assistance Programs (the Draper Committee). The text has been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in parts: pp. 1-12, and photos, more photos, and an annex dealing with the Philippines.
Lao Dong Party, 9th Plenum Documents. The 9th Plenum of the Lao Dong Party Central Committee, in December 1963, committed the LDP to the Chinese side in the Sino-Soviet dispute, and to vigorously pushing the war in South Vietnam. Texts of key documents, mostly in translations done by some agency or agencies of the U.S. government, have been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Talk by Le Duan at the 9th Plenum, as published in Hoc Tap, February 1964. Translated text.
"The Central Committee's 9th Plenum Resolution Discussing the International Situation, December 1963," captured by U.S. forces in Khanh Hoa province, 21 April 1967, translated text, front matter and pp. 1–34, pp. 35–62.
"The Central Committee's 9th Plenum Resolution Discussing the Situation in South Vietnam, December 1963," captured by U.S. forces in Cambodia, 13 May 1970, translated text.
"Lao Dong Ninth Plenum Decision on War in South," Dec 1963, Resolution (pp. 1-41); Nhan Dan editorial, 21 January 1964 (pp. 42-48; talk by Le Duan at the plenum, as published in Hoc Tap, February 1964 (pp. 49-91).
Ban Chap Hanh Truong Uong Dang Lao Dong Viet-Nam, Thong cao ve Hoi nghi lan thu 9 cua Ban chap hanh trung uong Dang lao dong Viet-Nam. Hanoi: Su That, 1964. 19 pp.
Le Cung, "Phong trao Phat giao Mien Nam Viet Nam nam 1963" (The Buddhist Struggle Movement in South Vietnam, 1963), Luan an Pho tiensi khoa hoc lich su, Hanoi, 1997. The Harvard-Yenching Library has a copy. Published as Phong trao Phat giao Mien Nam Viet Nam nam 1963. Hanoi: Nha xuat ban Dai hoc quoc gia Ha Noi, 1999. 332 pp.
[Le Duan?], "South Vietnam's Revolutionary Line"—A Party Document Issued in Late 1956 or Early 1957. ii, 31 pp. I presume that the document translated here (source unspecified) is the famous one by Le Duan, but I am not absolutely certain this presumption is correct. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Richard W. Lindholm, ed., Vietnam, The First Five Years: An International Symposium. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1959. xi, 365 pp. The full text is available online to paid subscribers of Questia.
Fredrik Logevall, The Origins of the Vietnam War. New York: Longman, 2001. xviii, 156 pp. Covers 1954 to 1965.
Fredrik Logevall, "Vietnam and the Question of What Might Have Been," in Mark J. White, ed., Kennedy: The New Frontier Revisited (New York: New York University Press, 1998), pp. 19-62.
Nicholas G.M. Luykx, "Some Comparative Aspects of Rural Public Institutions in Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam." Ph.D. dissertation, Public Administration, Cornell University, 1962. AAT 6300709. 905 pp.
Ly Nhan, Tran Le Xuan: giac mong chinh truong. Hanoi: Cong An Nhan Dan, 1998. 291 pp. Madame Nhu, the wife of Ngo Dinh Nhu.
Mieczyslaw Maneli, War of the Vanquished. New York: Harper & Row, 1971. viii, 228 pp. Maneli was originally from Poland. He was a member of the International Control Commission set up to enforce the Geneva Accords of 1954, serving in Vietnam in the mid 1950's and again in the mid 1960's. He defected to the United States in the late 1960's, and published in the U.S. this book about his experiences in Vietnam.
Andrew Edward Manning, "The Emotional Dimension of Foreign Policy Decisionmaking: President Kennedy's Deliberations on Berlin, Nuclear Testing, and Vietnam." Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science, University of Southern California, 2001. 530 pp. AAT 3065822. The theoretical discussion of the model the author uses to analyze emotions, in the abstract, looks rather odd to me.
S.L.A. Marshall, "The Big River," The New Leader, May 28, 1962.
S.L.A. Marshall, "An Exposed Flank in South Vietnam," The Reporter, June 7, 1962.
Matthew B. Masur, "Hearts and Minds: Cultural Nation-Building in South Vietnam, 1954–1963." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Ohio State University, 2004. AAT 3141669. 244 pp.
Matthew Masur, "Exhibiting Signs of Resistance: South Vietnam's Struggle for Legitimacy, 1954-1960." Diplomatic History 33:2 (April 2009), pp. 293-313.
John Mecklin, Mission in Torment. New York: Doubleday, 1965. xiii, 318 pp. Pretty good account of the period when Ngo Dinh Diem was overthrown. Mecklin was the Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy, Saigon.
Harold J. Meyer, Hanging Sam: A Military Biography of General Samuel T. Williams from Pancho Villa to Vietnam. Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press, 1990. xvi, 183 pp.
Michel M. Michon, Indochina Memoir: Rubber, Politics, and War in Vietnam and Cambodia, 1955–1972. Tempe, Arizona: Program for Southeast Asian Studies, Arizona State University, 2001. xxiii, 135 pp. Michon, a French soldier who had learned Vietnamese commanding a platoon of Vietnamese troops in Nam Dinh province between 1951 and 1953, returned to Vietnam in 1955 working for a French company that ran a number of rubber plantations in South Vietnam. pp. 9–62 cover the years from 1961 to 1963, when he was running a plantation at Long Thanh (I believe this is the Long Thanh in Bien Hoa province). The Viet Cong (whom he despised) were strong in the area, and he had extensive dealings with them. In 1964 he was transferred to Cambodia; he was running a plantation at Chamcar-Loeu (northeast of Phnom Penh, in Kompong Cham province) when communist forces arrived in that area in 1970. He continued operating the plantation for a while under Communist rule, then escaped with some difficulty.
Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), Vietnam, was established 1955, derived from the MAAG, Indochina, established in 1950. Many MAAG documents have been published in Foreign Relations of the United States or in the Pentagon Papers. Some have also been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University. Most of these last deal with U.S. Navy and Marine advisors to the Vietnamese Navy and Marines; they are in the Joseph Drachnik Collection (the papers of Captain Joseph B. Drachnik, Chief of the Navy Section, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Vietnam, from December 1961 to January 1964); for a partial listing, with links, see Navy Documents. But there are also a few others, including:
"MAAG Plan for Reorganization, Training and Employment of the Civil Guard" 28 October 1960.
"Summary Main Briefing Points for Phuoc Binh Thanh Special Zone" Headquarters, U.S. MAAG Detachment, Phuoc Binh Thanh Special Zone, Song Be, Vietnam. Undated, but covers the period from 15 November 1962 (when the Phuoc Binh Thanh Special Zone was established to coordinate operations against Zone D) to 24 February 1963. Includes detailed list of RVN units, and RVN and U.S. officers.
Edward Miller, "Vision, Power and Agency: The Ascent of Ngo Dinh Diem, 1945–1954." Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, October 2004.
Edward Garvey Miller, "Grand designs: Vision, power and nation building in America's alliance with Ngo Dinh Diem, 1954--1960." Ph.D. dissertation, History, Harvard University, 2004. 287 pp. AAT 3149576. The full text is available online if you are browsing the Internet from an institution, such as Clemson University, that has a subscription to ProQuest "Dissertations and Theses: Full Text."
Edward Miller, Misalliance; Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and the Fate of South Vietnam. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. 419 pp. A very valuable examination of Ngo Dinh Diem, and the way his policies interacted with those of the United States.
Edwin E. Moise, Land Reform in China and North Vietnam: Consolidating the Revolution at the Village Level. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983. xiv, 305 pp. The land reform of 1953–56 in North Vietnam, which distributed the land of rich landlords to the poor peasants as private property, was botched in an astonishingly stupid and brutal fashion. The mess was cleaned up very skillfully, but until the cleanup was just about finished (1958), the authorities in North Vietnam had very little attention to spare for events in South Vietnam.
Edwin E. Moise, "JFK and the Myth of Withdrawal," in Marilyn B. Young and Robert Buzzanco, eds., A Companion to the Vietnam War (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2002), pp. 162–173.
Mark Moyar, Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. xxvi, 512 pp. Moyar endorses Ngo Dinh Diem's leadership, and criticizes the Americans who turned against Diem. I have looked at only a few pages of this book. The ones I have examined most closely dealt with the Tonkin Gulf incidents of 1964. While Moyar should be commended for his use of Vietnamese sources, in other respects his research seems to have been hasty and careless; there are more errors on these pages than there should be. See details.
Andrew Wiest and Michael J. Doidge, eds., Triumph Revisited: Historians Battle for the Vietnam War. New York and London: Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2010. xiv, 239 pp. A collection of critiques and commentaries on Moyar's book, with responses from Moyar.
Major David M. Murane, USAF, "Night Air Operations in Vietnam: An Evolving Doctrine for Counterinsurgency." Master's thesis, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, 1965. vi, 170 pp. ADA371134. Focus is on the period 1962–1964. full text is available online through STINET.
B.S.N. Murti, Vietnam Divided: The Unfinished Struggle. New York: Asia Publishing House, 1964. vi, 228 pp. Murti was an Indian member of the International Control Commission.
Brian D.A. Mussington, "Travails on the New Frontier: The Kennedy Administration, Vietnam, and the Governing Consensus, 1961–1963." Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science, Carlton University, 1994. 353 pp. DANN98464
Harvey Neese and John O'Donnell, eds., Prelude to Tragedy: Vietnam, 1960–1965. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2001. xviii, 309 pp. Foreword by Richard Holbrooke. Essays by Bert Fraleigh, Hoang Lac, Lu Lan, Harvey Neese, John O'Donnell, Rufus Phillips, George Tanham, and Tran Ngoc Chau. I have not seen this yet, but it looks like a very important book, by both American and Vietnamese participants in the events.
Michael Andrew Nelson, "Liberal Internationalist: Roger Hilsman." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of Arkansas, 1999. 253 pp. AAT 9959409.
John M. Newman, JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue, and the Struggle for Power. New York: Warner, 1992. xiv, 506 pp. An important and useful study, though in my opinion Newman exaggerates the extent to which President Kennedy was an opponent of the escalation of the war in Vietnam.
Nghiem Xuan Thien, ed., Blood on their Hands: A Collection of True Stories, Stories of Actual Happenings. Saigon: Thoi Luan, 1956. 130 pp. I have not seen this, but I believe it is a collection of accounts by refugees from North Vietnam, originally published in La Gazette de Saigon and/or Thoi Luan, between September and December 1955. French original Preuves sanglantes: receuil des histoires vecues. Saigon, 1955. 124 pp.
Ngo Dinh Diem, Major Policy Speeches by President Ngo Dinh Diem, 2d. expanded ed. Saigon: Press Office, Presidency of the Republic of Viet Nam, 1956. 45 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Ngo Dinh Diem, La voie de la juste cause: (Traduction des principaux discours et déclarations de Président Ngo-Dinh-Diem). Saigon: Service to Presse Présidence de la République du Viêt-Nam, 1956. 188 pp.
Ngo Dinh Diem, President Ngo Dinh Diem on Democracy (Addresses Relative to the Constitution), 2d. ed. Saigon: Press Office, Presidency of the Republic of Viet-Nam, 1958. 35 pp. A collection of statements and speeches from June 18, 1954, to October 7, 1957. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Ngo Dinh Diem, Message of the President of the Republic to the National Assembly, October 1st, 1962. Saigon: Directorate General of Information, (1962). 63 pp. Bilingual in English and French. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: pp. 1–32, and pp. pp. 33–63.
Ngo Dinh Nhu, "Why We Must Defend the Existing Regime." Translation of a talk Nhu gave on November 15, 1957. 30 pp. Includes some discussion of Nhan-vi (Humanism). The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Ngo Ton Dat, "The Geneva Partition of Vietnam and the Question of Reunification During the First Two Years (August 1954 to July 1956)." Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell, International Relations, 1963. 516 pp. AAT 6304557.
Nguyen Qui Hung, Neuf ans de dictature au Sud-Vietnam: temoignages vivants sure Mme Nhu at les Ngo. Saigon, 1964. vii, 274 pp.
Mrs. Nguyen Thi Dinh, No Other Road to Take, trans. by Mai V. Elliott. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 1976. viii, 77 pp. Memoir of the Communist movement up to the end of 1960, especially in Ben Tre (in the Mekong Delta), by a woman who joined the movement in the 1930's.
Jan Smark Nilsson, Walking the Tightrope. Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia: Terebra, 2012. 232 pp. Nilsson went to Saigon in 1961 as the wife of a correspondent for Reuters. The book contains considerable information about Pham Xuan An, a Communist agent who was working for Reuters in the early 1960s.
Frederick Nolting, From Trust to Tragedy. New York: Praeger, 1989. xviii, 159 pp. A memoir, supplemented by some research in documents, by the U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam from 1961 until mid 1963. He was a strong supporter of Ngo Dinh Diem, and he feels that the abandonment of Diem, which occurred shortly after the end of his term as ambassador, was a dreadful mistake.
Col. Charles K. Nulsen, Ret., Vietnamese Ranger Operations in War Zone D, 1962–1963: Phuoc-Binh-Thanh Special Zone. West Springfield, NH: 1995. 16 pp. plus 14 pages of illustrations, maps, etc. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University. The personnel roster of the MAAG detachment for the Phuoc Binh Thanh Special Zone, as of 15 July 1963, was I belive attached to this publication, but it was place on-line as a separate file. "Summary Main Briefing Points for Phuoc Binh Thanh Special Zone" is another file. Several after-action reports of Ranger operations in the Phuoc Binh Thanh Special Zone are another file. Several reports Nulsen wrote in late 1962 about advising and training of ARVN Rangers are another file.
Anita Lauve Nutt, Regroupment, Withdrawals, and Transfers—Vietnam: 1954–1955, Part I. RM-6163-ARPA. Santa Monica: Rand, 1969. ix, 157 pp. Rand has placed the full text online. I am not aware of the planned Part II having been completed and published.
John B. O'Donnell, "The Strategic Hamlet Program in Kien Hoa Province, South Vietnam: A Case Study of Counter-Insurgency." Conference on Southeast Asian Tribes, Minorities and Central Governments, Princeton, New Jersey, May 11, 1965. O'Donnell had been the U.S. Operations Mission (A.I.D.) Provincial Representative in Kien Hoa from December 1962 to August 1964. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: pp. 1–47, and pp. 48-76.
Bradley S. O'Leary & Edward Lee, The Deaths of the Cold War Kings: The Assassinations of Diem & JFK. Baltimore: Cemetery Dance, 2000. 323 pp., plus appendices. Carelessly written and unreliable.
Milton Osborne, Strategic Hamlets in South Vietnam. Data Paper no. 55. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 1965. ix, 66 pp.
Herbert S. Parmet, "The Eisenhower and Kennedy Period: The Making and Unmaking of Ngo Dinh Diem." 39 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Herbert S. Parmet, JFK: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy. New York: Dial, 1983. viii, 407 pp.
A Party Account of the Situation in the Nam Bo Region of South Vietnam from 1954–1960. English translation of a document captured in Phuoc Long Province, April 28, 1969. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: Front matter and pp. 1–34, and pp. 35–61.
The "Pentagon Papers" A detailed history of U.S. policy toward Vietnam, written inside the Defense Department between 1967 and 1969, accompanied by many of the documents that the authors had used as sources. Originally it was classified "top secret." Large portions were published in 1971, and substantial portions—well over 2,000 pages—are available online.
Delia Thompson Pergande, "Private Voluntary Aid in Vietnam: The Humanitarian Politics of Catholic Relief Services and CARE, 1954–1965." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of Kentucky, 1999. 267 pp. AAT 9957047.
Pham Thanh Bien, et al., Cuoc khoi nghia Tra Bong va mien tay Quang Ngai (The uprising in Tra Bong and western Quang Ngai). Hanoi: NXB Quan Doi Nhan Dan, 1975. 154 pp. The uprising in 1959 that has been treated, in Communist historiography, as a crucial beginning point of the Second Indochina War.
Eugene G. Piasecki, "The 77th SFG Mission to South Vietnam: 1960." VERITAS: Journal of Army Special Operations History 5 (2009), pp. 46-57.
Douglas Pike, Viet Cong: The Organization and Techniques of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. Cambridge, MA: The M.I.T. Press, 1966. xx, 490 pp.
D. Gareth Porter, The Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. xviii, 403 pp. Contains some valuable insights, but sometimes overreaches. See my Review in Passport: The Newsletter of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 37:2 (August 2006), pp. 6-9.
John Prados, "JFK and the Diem Coup". Electronic riefing book, National Security Archive, November 5, 2003. An essay accompanied by the full texts of many key documents. The National Security Archive has announced that it will place another electronic briefing book online, containing newly released material, before the end of November 2009.
Andrew Preston, "The Soft Hawks' Dilemma in Vietnam: Michael V. Forrestal at the National Security Council, 1962–1964." International History Review 25 (March 2003), pp. 63–95.
Proceedings of Eighth SecDef Conference on Vietnam, held 6 May 1963 at HQ, CINCPAC, Camp Smith, Hawaii.
L. Fletcher Prouty, JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy. Introduction by Oliver Stone. New York: Carol, 1992. xxxv, 366 pp. Updated edition: New York: Carol, 1996. xxxv, 377 pp. I didn't find this theory convincing in Oliver Stone's film, and I doubt I will like this book much better.
The Quynh Luu Uprisings. (Saigon?): Vietnam Chapter, Asian Peoples' Anti Communist League, (1956?). 71 pp. Peasant riots in Quynh Luu district, Nghe An province, North Vietnam, November 1956, sparked by the crisis over land reform. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: pp. 1–39 and pp. 40–71.
Jeffrey Race, War Comes to Long An. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972. xxiii, 299 pp. A superb study, one of the few indispensible books on Vietnam, which traces the development of the Vietcong in South Vietnam in general, and Long An province (a little southwest of Saigon) in particular, up to about the mid 1960's. Updated and Expanded edition, with new forewords by Robert K. Brigham and Jeffrey Record, War Comes to Long An: Revolutionary Conflict in a Vietnamese Province. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010 (forthcoming).
Captain James F. Ray, USA, "The District Advisor." Military Review, XLV:5 (May 1965), pp. 3-8. Published posthumously; Captain Ray was KIA January 9, 1965. He wrote this in late 1964, on the basis of five months as Subsector Advisor, Nha Be District, Gia Dinh Province.
Richard Reeves, President Kennedy: Profile of Power. New York: Touchstone (Simon & Schuster), 1993. 798 pp.
Republic of Vietnam, The Problem of Reunification of Vietnam. Saigon: Ministry of Information, 1958. Bilingual in English and French. The English-language portion is pp. i-viii, 1-47. The French-language portion, which starts with a second title page, is pp. 51-105. A collection of documents 1954-1958, not in chronological order, on the attitude of the Republic of Vietnam to the Geneva Accords and the reunification of Vietnam. The text has been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in three parts: pp. i-viii, 1-31, pp. 32-72, pp. 73-105, and errata.
The Reunification of Vietnam. Special issue no. 16 (September 1970) of Viet-Nam Bulletin. Washington, D.C.: Embassy of Viet-Nam, September 1970. 39 pp. A collection of documents 1954-1959 (many of which also appeared in the item above). The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
John H. Richardson [Jr.], My Father the Spy: An Investigative Memoir. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. 314 pp. Richardson Sr. was the CIA station chief in Saigon in 1963, who opposed the idea of the U.S. backing a coup against Diem. He was recalled to Washington and outed in the press.
William Rosenau, US Internal Security Assistance to South Vietnam: Insurgency, Subversion and Public Order. London: Routledge, 2005. x, 220 pp.
William J. Rust, Kennedy in Vietnam. New York: Scribners, 1985. xvii, 252 pp.
Saigon [title on cover] or A Booklet of Helpful Information for Americans in Vietnam [title on title page]. Saigon: United States Operations Mission to Vietnam, 1958. 44 pp. plus a fairly detailed map. Has various details that would be hard to find elsewhere. For example, the list of addresses of diplomatic facilities (pp. 38-40) makes it possible to tell which countries had an embassy in Saigon, and which had only a consulate or legation. The text has been placed online in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Pierre Salinger, With Kennedy. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966. xvi, 391 pp. Salinger was President Kennedy's press secretary.
Pierre Salinger, P.S.: A Memoir. New York: St. Martin's, 1995. xi, 304 pp.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965. xiv, 1087 pp. Schlesinger, who had been a professor of history at Harvard, became a special assistant to president Kennedy in 1961.
Robert Scigliano, South Vietnam: Nation Under Stress. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1963. ix, 227 pp. pb Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1964. ix, 237 pp.
Robert G. Scigliano, "Political Parties in South Vietnam under the Republic." Pacific Affairs 33:4 (December 1960), pp. 327–346. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text directly or go through the JSTOR Pacific Affairs browse page.
Marc J. Selverstone, “It’s a Date: Kennedy and the Timetable for a Vietnam Troop Withdrawal.” Diplomatic History 34:3 (June 2010), 485-495.
La semaine a Saigon/A Week in Saigon. A weekly publication aimed at tourists. No. 279 (March 21–27, 1964) has been placed online at the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: pp. 1–37, pp. 38–72. A lot of ads, a lot of assorted information—addresses of major government offices, and of embassies and consulates; TV schedules for the week; etc. The most bizarre aspect is that there is no visible tongue in the cheek where the publication is pushing Vietnam as a good place for tourists to go big-game hunting (pp. 11–12).
Geoffrey D.T. Shaw, "Ambassador Frederick Nolting's Role in American Diplomatic and Military Policy toward the Government of South Vietnam, 1961–1963." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of Manitoba, 1999. 664 pp. AAT NQ51666. Takes a favorable view of Nolting, and of Ngo Dinh Diem. W. Averell Harriman is the villain.
Theodore Sorensen, Kennedy. New York: Harper & Row, 1965. 881 pp. Memoir by President Kennedy's Special Counsel and speechwriter, and extremely close and trusted adiviser.
Ted [Theodore C.] Sorensen, Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History. New York: HarperCollins, 2008. 556 pp. Memoir, perhaps a bit more candid, by President Kennedy's Special Counsel and speechwriter.
Kathryn Claire Statler, "From the French to the Americans: Intra-Alliance Politics, Cold War Concerns, and Cultural Conflict in Vietnam, 1950–1960." Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of California at Santa Barbara, 1999. 482 pp. AAT 9982175.
Kathryn C. Statler, Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2007. xii, 378 pp.
Ralph L. Stavins, "A Special Supplmement: Kennedy's Private War", New York Review of Books, 17:1 (July 22, 1971).
Geoffrey C. Stewart, Vietnam's Lost Revolution: Ngo Dinh Diem's Failure to Build and Independent Nation, 1955-1963. Cambridge University Press, 2016 (forthcoming).
Gerald S. Strober and Deborah Hart Strober, Let Us Begin Anew: An Oral History of the Kennedy Presidency. New York: HarperCollins, 1993. xiii, 540 pp.
Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald S. Strober, The Kennedy Presidency: An Oral History of the Era. Washingon, DC: Brassey's, 2003. I belive this is a revised edition of the above.
C.V. Sturdevant, The Border Control Problem in South Vietnam. RM-3967-ARPA. Santa Monica: Rand, June 1964. xiii, 59 pp. The research for this study was done in 1962 and early 1963.
Carlyle A. Thayer, The Origins of the National Front for the Liberation of South Viet-nam (Ph.D. dissertation, Australian National University, 1977). University Microfilms order no. 78-03838. 733 pp.
Carlyle Thayer, War by Other Means: National Liberation and Revolution in Viet-Nam, 1954–60. Cambridge, MA: Unwin Hyman, 1989. xxx, 256 pp. Probably the best summary now available of how the end of the First Indochina War in 1954 led to the beginning of the Second in 1959 and 1960.
The Si (a.k.a. Tran Van Hung, original name Nguyen Van The), Giot le tong dong lich su (A tear in the stream of history). Forest Park, Georgia: self-published, 2002. 351 pp. The author, born in Nghe An, was a victim of the land reform in 1956. He escaped to the South later in the 1950s. After 1975, he was imprisoned by the Communists.
To Hoai, Ba nguoi khac: tieu thuyet (Three other men: a novel). Da Nang: NXB Da Nang, 2006. 250 pp. A fictionalized version of the experiences of To Hoai, an intellectual and a prolific writer, as a land reform cadre in Thanh Hoa and Hai Duong provinces.]
David M. Toczek, The Battle of Ap Bac, Vietnam: They Did Everthing but Learn from It. Westport: Praeger, 2001. xxvii, 185 pp. pb Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2008. xxvii, 185 pp.
Gerard Tongas, J'ai vécu dans l'enfer communiste au Nord Viêt-Nam et j'ai choisi la liberté. Paris: Nouvelles Editions Debresse, 1960. 463 pp.
Marc Trachtenberg, "Kennedy, Vietnam, and Audience Costs". This essay, and comments on it by several scholars, are online in James McAllister, ed., H-Diplo/ISSF Forum on “Audience Costs and the Vietnam War”.
Nu-Anh Tran, "Contested Identities: Nationalism in the Republic of Vietnam, 1954-1963," Ph.D. dissertation, History, University of Califormia, Berkeley, 2013.
Trân Thi Liên, "Les catholiques vietnamiens dans la République du Viêtnam (1954–1963)" in Pierre Brocheux, ed., Du conflit d'Indochine aux conflits indochinois (Paris: Éditions Complexe, 2000), pp. 53–80.
Richard Tregaskis, Vietnam Diary. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963. 401 pp. Tregaskis, a veteran war correspondent, arrived in Vietnam October 10, 1962, and left January 11, 1963. Relatively favorable to the war effort.
Truong Chinh, "Implementing the Land Reform." Report delivered at the First National Conference of the Lao Dong Party, November 14-23, 1953. In Truong Chinh, Selected Writings (Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1977), pp. 465-555. Truong Chinh, as General Secretary of the Party, bore much of the responsibility for setting the land reform on what became, over the next three years, a disastrous course. This has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: pp. 465-510 and pp. 511-555.
Truong Ngoc Giau and Lloyd W. Woodruff, The Delta Village of My Thuan: Some Administrative and Financial Aspects. Washington: Agency for International Development, 1963. vi, 94 pp. Originally written under the auspices of the Michigan State University Vietnam Advisory Group. My Thuan village of Binh Minh district, Vinh Long (see also under Donohue, above, for another study of this village). The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: front matter and pp. 1–44, and pp. 45–94.
The Victory of Rung Sat/La victoire de Rung Sat. (Saigon?): (Republic of Vietnam, late 1955 or 1956?). 48 pp. Bilingual in English and French. Ngo Dinh Diem's defeat of the Binh Xuyen in 1955. Includes list of units participating, with names of commanding officers. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Viet Hong, "Vai net ve dau tranh vo trang va luc luong vo trang o Nam bo truoc cuoc dong khoi 1959–1960." Nghien cuu lich su, no. 155 (March–April 1974), pp. 39–55. The text in Vietnamese and also an English translation, "The armed struggle and the armed forces in Nam-bo before the 1959-1960 general uprising," which looks as if it was probably done by some U.S. government agency, have been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
The Violation of Human Rights in South Viet-Nam, Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission to South Viet-Nam, December 7, 1963, United Nations General Assembly, Eighteenth session, A/5630.
Denis Warner, The Last Confucian. New York: Macmillan, 1963. Pb Baltimore: Penguin, 1964. Book about Ngo Dinh Diem and the government he headed, by an Australian journalist.
Geoffrey Warner, "The United States and the Fall of Diem," Part 1, Australian Outlook, 28:3 (December 1974), pp. 245–258, and Part 2, 29:1 (April 1975), pp. 3–17. Cites as a source an interview with Lucien Conein, in transcript, NBC News White Paper, "Vietnam Hindsight, Part II: The Death of Diem," 12/22/71.
Franklin B. Weinstein, Vietnam's Unheld Elections: The Failure to Carry Out the 1956 Reunification Elections and the Effect on Hanoi's Present Outlook. Data Paper no. 60. Ithaca: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 1966. vii, 65 pp.
Edward B. Westermann, "Relegated to the backseat: Farm Gate and the failure of the US air advisory effort in South Vietnam, 1961-1963," in Donald Stoker, ed., Military Advising and Assistance: From Mercenaries to Privatization, 1815-2007 (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2008), pp. 127-150.
Christine Pelzer White, "Agrarian Reform and National Liberation in the Vietnamese Revolution: 1920–1957." Ph.D. dissertation, Political Science, Cornell, 1981. 531 pp. AAT 8111002.
Christine Pelzer White, Land Reform in North Vietnam. 76, 5 pp. Agency for International Development, Spring Review Country Paper, June 1970. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, in two parts: Front matter and pp. 1–44; pp. 45–76, plus a separately paginated bibliography.
Francis X. Winters, The Year of the Hare: America in Vietnam, January 25, 1963 – February 15, 1964. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997. xii, 292 pp. Winters, a professor of ethics, greatly exaggerates the extent to which US policymakers based their actions on ethical concerns. He is also sometimes unreliable on factual details.
Lloyd W. Woodruff, assisted by Nguyen Ngoc Yen, Local Administration in Vietnam: The Number of Local Units. Report No. 1, Local Administration Series. Saigon: Michigan State University Advisory Group/National Institute of Administration, The Republic of Vietnam, 1960. vi, 48 pp. plus numerous appendices. Washington: Agency for International Development, 1963. viii, 45 pp. Describes the administrative structure as of October 1959. Front matter and pp. 1–43 of the 1960 Saigon original; pp. 44–48, appendices A–F, and page G-1; pp. G-2 to G-6; and the 1963 AID reprint have been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Joseph J. Zasloff, "Rural Resettlement in South Viet Nam: The Agroville Program." Pacific Affairs 35:4 (Winter 1962–63), pp. 327–340. If you browse the Internet through an institution that has subscribed to JSTOR, you can access the text directly or go through the JSTOR Pacific Affairs browse page.
Joseph J. Zasloff, Origins of the Insurgency in South Vietnam, 1954–1960: The Role of the Southern Vietminh Cadres. RM-5163/2-ISA/ARPA. Santa Monica: Rand Corporation, May 1968. ix, 36 pp. The text has been placed on-line in the Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University.
Tela Zasloff, Saigon Dreaming: Recollections of Indochina Days. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Ms. Zasloff was in Saigon in 1964 because her husband (presumably Joseph Zasloff) was doing research on the insurgency.
Philip Zelikow, Ernest May, and Timothy Naftali, eds., The Presidential Recordings: John F. Kennedy: The Great Crises. 3 vols. New York: Norton, 2001. 1536 pp. Transcripts of discussions that President Kennedy chose to record, July-October 1962. I doubt there is a lot about Vietnam, but there is some.
C. J. Zwick, C. A. Cooper, H. Heymann, Jr., and R. H. Moorsteen, U.S. Economic Assistance in Vietnam: A Proposed Reorientation. R-430-AID. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, July 1964. xiii, 102 pp. The study was prepared at the request of the Agency for International Development. The authors conducted research in Vietnam from May 10 to June 19, 1964.
Thomas A. Dooley, Deliver Us from Evil: The Story of Viet Nam's Flight to Freedom. New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1956. 214 pp. This very influential book by a US Navy doctor who had been involved in the 1954–55 evacuation of Catholics from North Vietnam contained lurid accounts of Viet Minh atrocities against the Catholics. Its accuracy has been questioned. Jim Winters, "Tom Dooley: The Forgotten Hero", Notre Dame Magazine, May 1979, pp. 10–17, says that US personnel who worked in Haiphong with Dooley in 1954 and 1955 say he exaggerated Communist atrocities. See also items by James T. Fisher, below.
Jessica Elkind, "'The Virgin Mary is Going South’: Refugee Resettlement in South Vietnam, 1954–1956," Diplomatic History 38:5 (November 2014), pp. 987- .
James T. Fisher, Dr. America: The Lives of Thomas A. Dooley, 1927–1961. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1997. 352 pp. I have not read this but I believe it is very critical of Dooley. See also James T. Fisher, "Tom Dooley's Many Lives", Commonweal, May 21, 1993, pp. 6–7, stating that Dooley's book (see above) had presented a "largely fabricated version of recent history".
Ronald B. Frankum, Jr., Operation Passage to Freedom: The United States Navy in Vietnam, 1954-1955. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2007. xxiii, 251 pp.
Jim Ruotsala, "Perspectives: In 1954 and 1955, Americans participated in the evacuation of more than 300,000 refugees fleeing the Viet Minh. Vietnam Magazine, June 2000, pp. 62-69.
Nghia M. Vo, The Vietnamese Boat People, 1954 and 1975–1992. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2005. 208 pp.
Pierre-Jean Yvon, Un marin au coeur de l'exode indochinois, 1954-1955. Saint-Malo: Pascal Galodé, 2010. 269 pp.
The Virtual Vietnam Archive of the Vietnam Project, at Texas Tech University, has recently placed online a considerable variety of documents on Operation Passage to Freedom. A partial listing:
Commander Task Force Ninety and Commander Amphibious Group One, Operation Order 2-54. 11 August 1954. Plans for U.S. participation in the evacuation of "French Union Forces with equipment, selected civilians, refugees desiring transportation and MDAP equipment" from North to South Vietnam. Front matter, main text, and Annexes A to I (Annex C, Intelligence, is present despite the impression given in the front matter that it was being omitted); From Annex I, Appendix II, Tab A, through Annex L; Annex M (Medical) through Annex O (Electronic Warfare), and Annex X (Distribution List) (there were no Annexes P-W).
Commander Task Force Ninety (RADM Lorenzo S. Sabin) to Chief of Naval Operations, "War Diary" (title corrected by hand to "Narrative Report" on cover letter), 29 July to 25 September 1954, 25 to 30 September 1954, and detailed listing of Task Force, Group and Unit Composition of Task Force Ninety.
Report of Operation Passage to Freedom, 8 Aug-15 Nov. 1954 (publication by Commander Amphibious Group Western Pacific of: Commander Task Force Ninety to Chief of Naval Operations, "Evacuation Operations in Vietnam," 3 January 1955. Operation Order 2-54, revised November 1954. Front matter and Enclosure 1 (Narrative) through Enclosure 4 (Logistics), p. 12 (Enclosure 3 [Intelligence] has been omitted); Enclosure 4 (Logistics), p. 13, through Enclosure 8 (Statistical Summary), appendix II; Enclosure 9 (photographs) and Enclosure 10 (map).
Commander Amphibious Group One to Chief of Naval Operations, "Evacuation Operations in Vietnam" (alternate title "Passage to Freedom: Covering the Period 16 Nov. 1954-18 May 1955"), 15 June 1955. Cover letter and Enclosures 1-3 (Enclosure 1, Summary of Operations, ends with a detailed listing of the people and cargo carried on every voyage by every ship); Enclosure 4-9.
Vice Admiral Lorenzo S. Sabin, USN (Ret), "'Hearts of Gold' (A Report on Operation Passage to Freedom)". 14 pp. The text.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum has a Oral History Project that has compiled an extensive collection of oral history interviews of people who were involved in, or dealt with, the Kennedy administration. Some of these are available online. See Oral History Project for a list of all interviews, with links for those that are available online. The ones available so far include:
Elie Abel, journalist, NBC. Oral history interviews, 1970.
Dean Acheson, Oral history interview, 1964.
Joseph W. Alsop, journalist, Oral history interviews, 1964, 1971, 1979.
William P. Bundy, Oral history interviews, 1964 and 1972.
Captain Joseph B. Drachnik, Chief, Navy Section, MAAG, 1961-1964, Oral history interview, 1970.
Oral histories for many important figures of the 1960s, including some who were much more involved in the Kennedy administration than in the Johnson administration, have been collected by the LBJ Presidential Library. Some of these have been placed online at an Oral History Collection Web page at the LBJ Presidential Library. Far more of them have been placed online in the Lyndon B. Johnson Oral History collection at the Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia. If you are hoping to find online an oral history not specifically mentioned in the listing below, check the Lyndon B. Johnson Oral History collection first; its holdings are by far the most complete. But if you actually go to the reading room at the LBJ Presidential Library, you will find a more complete collection than either of the ones online.
John Michael Dunn, oral history. Dunn, a colonel, went to Vietnam in 1963 as an assistant to Ambassador Lodge.
Elbridge Durbrow oral history. U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam, 1957-1961. Includes some discussion of events after the end of his ambassadorship. His views on the events of 1963 are remarkable, including a belief that the Buddhist crisis was all contrived by Moscow (p. 55).
General Paul D. Harkins oral history. Commander of MACV, 1962-1964.
Jonathan F. Ladd oral history, part 1. Ladd went to Vietnam in June 1962, served briefly as the G-3 adviser for III Corps, then became the division adviser for the ARVN 21st Division, in the southern half of the Mekong Delta (south of the Bassac). The countryside was "pretty well controlled by the Viet Cong" at that time.
William Trueheart oral history. Trueheart arrived in Saigon in October 1961 as deputy chief of mission.
The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training has been placed online as part of the American Memory project of the Library of Congress. There is some overlap between this collection and the collection of the LBJ Presidential Libarary, above.
The U.S. Army War College and the Military History Institute associated with it have had a variety of oral history programs over the years, including the Senior Officers Debriefing Program, the Senior Officers Oral History Program, and others. An impressive number of oral histories from these various programs are, or at least once were, online in the Army Heritage Collection Online. A reorganization of that web site has invalidated the links below, and I have not yet managed to relocate these oral histories.
Major Joel Earl Andrews, oral history interview conducted 1972. 62 pp. Most of this (pp. (3–40) is devoted to Andrews's quite early (Feb 1962 to Feb 1963) tour in Vietnam, as a chaplain with the 39th Signal Battalion, which was sent to Vietnam with great secrecy to establish communications systems. Based at Tan Son Nhut but with quite a bit of travelling.
Brigadier General Donald D. Blackburn, oral history interviews conducted in 1983. ix, 387 pp. plus appendices. Much of this oral history is devoted to Blackburn's leadership of Philippine guerrillas during World War II. He was senior adviser for Military Region 5 (the Mekong Delta), 1957–58. Then he commanded 77th Special Forces Group. He commanded SOG from May 1965 to May 1966, and was SACSA from December 1969 to December 1970.
General James F. Collins, oral history interviews conducted in 1976. A 222-page .pdf file, in multiple sections paginated separately. General Collins was commander in chief, U.S. Army, Pacific, from 1961 to 1964. He discusses various aspects of Vietnam.
Lt. Gen. Alva R. Fitch, oral history interviews conducted 1984, vol. I. 130 pp. Accompanied by Vol. II, Appendices, a 188-page .pdf file, the bulk of which is Appendix B, a 157-page autobiography by General Fitch. He was the Army's Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, October 1959 to October 1961, and Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, October 1961 to January 1964. He was Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from January 1964 to May 1966. He says that in the spring of 1964, he played a crucial role in persuading the Joint Chiefs that the war in Vietnam was going much worse than they had previously believed. He has some interesting comments on the personnel and functioning of intelligence in this period.
General Paul D. Harkins, oral history interview conducted in 1974. 75 pp. Commander of MACV, 1962–64.
General Harold K. Johnson, vol. II, oral history interviews conducted in 1972 and 1973. A 209-page .pdf file. This starts in 1960, when Johnson became commandant of the Command and General Staff College, and goes through the end of his career in 1968. Includes broad discussion of the way the Defense Department functioned under McNamara, military-civilian relationships, etc.
General Joseph T. Palastra, Jr., Vol. I, oral history interviews conducted 1996. viii, 288 pp. Palastra served three tours in Vietnam. In the first (pp. 48–80), he was one of a very small group of Army lieutenants who were transferred to CIA, so they could go to Vietnam without being counted in the limited number of U.S. military personnel permitted there under the Geneva Accords of 1954. He was transferred to CIA in April 1955 and arrived in Vietnam around June, where he initially worked for Lou Conein in Saigon. In August he was sent to the Nha Trang area to work at the commando training center at Pu Xuong. He was there until approximately June 1956. The second (April 1964 to Apri 1965, pp. 141–188) he was S3 of the 145th Aviation Battalion, later the 52d Aviation Battalion. Mostly in II Corps. During the third (February 1968 to January 1969, pp. 195–244?) he was with the 4th Infantry Division; initially he commanded B Company, 4th Aviation Battalion, which was not functioning well when he arrived, and beginning in July he commanded the 1/12 Infantry, which was in good shape when he took over. Vol. I covers up through about 1974.
General Maxwell D. Taylor, oral history interviews conducted 1973. A 253-page .pdf file made up of several sections paginated separately, without a real table of contents. Some of this is quite interesting. Discussion of Taylor's service with the Kennedy administration begins on the 152d page of the overall file, in Section 4. Section 5 starts with the issue of bombing the North.
General Volney R. Warner, oral history interviews conducted in 1983. viii, 236 pp. plus appendices. Warner was province senior adviser for Kien Giang province, 1963–1964, and returned very disenchanted with the war. He worked quite a bit on Vietnam as a staff officer in the Pentagon, 1965–1967. He was military assistant to the special assistant to the president on Vietnam affairs, 1967–68. Then he served another Vietnam tour 1969–1970, initially as commander of the 3d Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, then as assisant chief of staff, G-5, II Field Force.
Much discussion of U.S. policy during the period 1954–1964 can also be found in books listed under U.S. Policy.
For the role of religious groups in Vietnamse politics, see Religions.
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Copyright © 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, Edwin E. Moise. This document may be reproduced only by permission. Revised March 19, 2015.